By Kevin Eickman
Things had been going along very nicely for the Milford girls’ basketball team this season. Following a 55-23 drubbing of Delmar at home on the 26th of January, the then 11-2 (7-0) Buccaneers looked poised to run away with the Henlopen South. Over the last three games that has all changed for Milford, as they have come away with three consecutive defeats.
The first loss came at the hands of their top Henlopen South rival, Woodbridge. It was a much anticipated game and a win would all but ensure Milford repeating as Southern champions. On their trip to Bridgeville it all seemed to be going according to plan early in the first quarter and then it all fell apart after that. The second quarter was a harbinger of things to come as Milford would only put up one point in the period. This turned what had been a three point advantage into an eight point deficit. Milford would never lead again.
With the loss, Milford found themselves in a tie with Woodbridge and a lot of season to go. The task did not get any easier for Milford as they would travel up to Saint Elizabeth to battle the Vikings. It was a game that saw the hosts jump out in front and never look back. Cruising to a 59-47 victory over Milford, which was not nearly as close as the score would indicate.
Heading into Thursday nights game at Lake Forest, it was hoped that the Buccaneers would get back on track against their Henlopen South rival. At first it looked as if Milford would be able to get their goal accomplished. The first quarter went well for Milford as they got off quickly and ended it with a 12-8 lead.
While the two teams would match points in the second quarter, it was becoming apparent that the tide was beginning to turn. There was more to it than just matching points, Lake was becoming the more assertive of the two teams. With each passing possession, Milford was having a difficult time generating points. If not for key three pointers, the Buccaneers would have easily found themselves in a halftime hole, instead of the 24-20 advantage they enjoyed.
The lead evaporated in the third period as Lake was starting to assert themselves. The Spartans extended their zone, taking away many of the three point opportunities Milford had enjoyed in the first half. Milford was looking for answers and coming up empty. “We just could not get into our offense tonight,” coach Leona White stated. “This is something we practice every day and just could not get it done tonight.”
Even though the teams entered the fourth quarter knotted at 29 points, there was no doubt that the Buccaneers were on the ropes. Lake wasted little time settling the issue as they simply imposed their will on the Buccaneers. Milford could not stop Lake, nor could the respond on offense. Midway through the quarter there was no doubt the Spartans would gain the victory. When the dust had settled, Milford had been handed a 43-33 defeat.
With their third consecutive loss, a great many things have changed for Milford. While the 11-5 record is respectable, the 6-2 Henlopen South means they will need to right their ship and get some help if they are to repeat as division champions.
“We just have to keep working and we will get to where we need to be,” coach White said. With Junior Rajene Bowe out due to injury, Milford will need players to step up to fill the void. “Having Rajene out is tough, but we just have to give that much more of an effort to compensate.” White stated.
Milford will travel to Indian River Tuesday and Caesar Rodney on Thursday.